On paper I probably appeared to have the perfect life; a lovely wife, two beautiful children, a big house in a nice area and a good job – the suburban dream. But inside my marriage I wasn’t happy. I left my wife and gave up all the security of suburban life for someone ten years younger than me.
This may immediately trigger the stereotype about why men leave wives – that all men are cheaters who can never be trusted – but this is not my story. I’ve never strayed before, I’ve always been a very loyal person, I don’t see the point of being with someone if you’re not wholly committed to them. When I married my wife I was thrilled, she’s very genuine, attractive, laughs a lot and has a good sense of humour. We were a happy couple, the envy of friends who knew we were in love and loved each other’s company.
So what changed? As much as it sounds like a cliche, kids changed everything. Not immediately, it was a slow change, not even noticeable in any particular moment. My now ex-wife is an amazing mum, so loving, so dedicated, so in-tune with her children. This incredible love and dedication to her children, however, meant there was nothing left for me and we drifted apart.
Life with two small children is exhausting, the demands relentless. If we somehow found ourselves with a tiny bit of spare time whilst our children were having simultaneous daytime sleeps, conversation with me was not important, intimacy was not important. Instead of trying to enjoy some rare time together, my ex-wife would use the time to boil and puree vegetables so that the kids would have some healthy meals in the freezer, just in case. A weekend away for just the two of us was unthinkable, as it had the potential to cause far too much distress for the children to be away from their mum for two days and a night.
At work I started sitting next to a girl who was almost ten years my junior. At that point, leaving my wife had never crossed my mind. I always thought that as our children got a bit older the demands would subside and we’d find the time for each other to reconnect. There were many reasons to think that things could get better in my marriage, but they didn’t.
Watch: MM Confessions: When I knew our relationship was over. Post continues after video.
The girl I sat next to at work is incredibly genuine, raw and endearing (and yes, pretty). If I’d been single in this situation I probably would have desperately tried to impress her all the time, but I wasn’t, I was just myself. And we clicked. Not romantically at first, but as friends, and we developed a deep and trusting relationship. She felt comfortable telling me personal things, and in turn, I did also. After about a year and a half of this friendship, something changed inside me (it must have been the realisation that my marriage just wasn’t getting any better) and boom, I was in love with this girl. Add a work function and alcohol, and shortly after we were together.